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Questions from Hannah, part 2:

Why do you like cemeteries so much?

Because they are awesome. You can keep your forests and "grand" canyons. I'll take a cemetery any day.

Cemeteries are a reminder that the world wasn't built for me, that life only has the meaning we give it, that the journey is always more important than the destination. Memento mori!

When built right, the Victorian way, cemeteries are a delightful combination of storybook and park, usually filled with a bunch of spectacularly crafted art. As a bonus, most living people treat cemeteries with a serene reverence you don't find anywhere else, so cemeteries are simultaneously full of people and very quiet.

Truthfully, I think the idea of burying people in boxes in the ground is kind of ridiculous, but I love, love, love the stone monuments left above ground to mark their territory. If nothing else, those tombstones say "I was here," and that sort of yelling into the void of eternity speaks to me. What is a tombstone but a very succinct and enduring blog post?

And why do you call them cemeteries instead of graveyards?

Because that's what they are.

In the modern Western tradition, a graveyard is a type of cemetery that is on a church grounds while a cemetery is a community's common burial ground not necessarily connected to a specific church. For example, my town's local burial ground (established 1833) is officially Oak Hill Cemetery, though there are plenty of churches around here with their own much smaller graveyards. It's my experience that cemeteries are often more welcoming to visitors (and usually contain more delightfully ostentatious monuments) than graveyards, but I've been in plenty of delightful graveyards, too.

Personally, I can't say as I like the word "graveyard." A yard of graves sounds so very bleak, while there's almost something celebratory in a "cemetery." I like both of those much more than I like the euphemism "memorial park." The government should make you explicitly declare if you have a park full of corpses.

Looking at Online Etymology Dictionary, it would appear that both "graveyard" and "cemetery" have historically referred to more or less the same thing, so their use prior to the 19th century probably derives from whatever languages were spoken by a region's ancestors. And I suppose that maybe you live somewhere where "graveyard" has remained the preferred term, which is fine by me. Regional differences are fun!

You often mention the fact that you work at night and sleep through the morning; is your brain really more alert in the middle of the night?

I do think I do my best coding and most often find myself "in the zone" between 1 and 3AM, but I don't know if I would say that I am especially more alert in the darkness than I am in sunlight — I'm no vampire. I really like the late night because everyone else is asleep. For one thing, it's useful for my work: coding is easier without distractions, and it's easier to update websites, databases, and video game files when they aren't being as widely used. But I chose my occupation, not the other way around. I just like being the only person around. It's like the entire world becomes a cemetery, and you already know how I feel about that.

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I'm proud to report that has picked up a new reader! According to her email (subject line: "I like your blog!"), Hannah has followed me over from and has let me know that she has now read every single post going back to the beginning in 2003. She might be more dedicated to this site than I am.

Obviously, after reading that much drivel, Hannah has questions. Fortunately, most of her questions are about my favorite subject: me.

Let the self aggrandizement begin!

Why did you start blogging in the first place?

Back in the day — this was before Facebook and smartphones existed, mind you — I was in art school in Athens, GA, and wanted an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family who lived across the country. I do not enjoy A) talking on the telephone or B) repeating myself. So I built a place where anyone who cared to know could come to get critical updates about whatever it was I was doing at the time. I can't say as it worked, really, as only a couple of my friends (and my mother) have ever visited regularly. I still have to answer "what have you been up to?" too often for my personal tastes.

How do you decide what to post about?

At the core, the point of everything that I do is to keep myself entertained. I am very selfish that way.

I come from the land of Lewis Grizzard. (Google him.) Grizzard made a strong impression on a lot of people; many thought he was a real bastard, but my favorite restaurant still has a menu item named after his favorite dish: brunswick stew on a pulled pork barbecue sandwich served with onion rings, I never met him personally, but my encounters with his writings during my formative years led me to believe that one of the best possible occupations was "humorist newspaper columnist." So I generally approach content at as my own soapbox and diary with a goal of making it an enjoyable read in the (poorly imitated) vein of curmudgeonly satirists like Grizzard or Dave Barry or television's Stephen Colbert or Andy Rooney. (Google him too.) Quoth the Poppins: "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down."

When it comes to creating individual posts, I start by saying to myself, "Oh, shit! I haven't posted anything at in the past two days!" I picked an every-other-day schedule because it's just often enough to keep me motivated and just long enough to let me regenerate ideas. I ask myself, "Is there anything on my mind?" Sometimes there is, and I type that. And sometimes there isn't, and I stall (or punt).

And some days people ask me a bunch of questions and I answer them.

How long does it take you to craft a blog post?

I wish I was half as clever as I like to think I am. On average, probably about thirty minutes. Honestly, it's probably longer and I just don't want to admit that publicly. Sometimes it takes a very long time, especially for the five paragraph "college admission" essays in which I want to be sure I've gotten all of my punchlines just right. Grammar matters, but so does rhythm and timing. (The core of comedy is subversion of expectations. And banana peels.)

Hannah had more questions than that, but that's a good start. I have to have something to post later, after all. These posts aren't going to blog themselves.

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To be continued...


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